Sustainability in fastening technology | Closure + fixing magazine

Sustainability in fastening technology
08 June 2022

Climate protection is becoming more and more important. When it comes to reducing carbon dioxide production, special attention is paid to manufacturing industries, especially the automotive industry. Here, Annedore Bose-Munde, a qualified engineer and business and technical journalist, examines how fastener manufacturer Arnold Group is doing its part with sustainability in the fastener industry.

When we look at global developments in the automotive sector, it is clear that new cars and vans produced in Europe over the years have become progressively heavier, from an average of 1,268 kg in 2000, to 1,360 kg in 2010 and 1,420 kg by 2020. With the development of more hybrid and electric vehicles, this trend will increase. The weight of the battery alone means that an electric vehicle weighs on average 300 kg more than a vehicle with a conventional engine.

However, by optimizing fuel consumption and discovering new and innovative driving concepts, it was possible to achieve a significant reduction in CO emissions.2 emissions – from about 175 g of CO2/ km in 2000, at 140 g CO2/ km in 2010 and 95 g of CO2/ km by 2020. This trend must continue over the next few years if we are to achieve climate protection goals in the future.

Fastener manufacturers must look to sustainability

One thing we can be sure of is that in order to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible, everyone must work together to develop and implement strategies to constantly protect the climate. Sustainability is of utmost importance to The fastener manufacturer based in Germany Arnold Group, as it is one of the five strategic approaches adopted by the company – together with eMobility, internationalization, light engineering and digitalization.

Climate protection and the sustainable use of resources have long been well-founded principles for the company, well before the increasingly heated debates on climate change today. When Arnold was founded in 1898, his first factory was housed within an existing mill, meaning the machines were powered by renewable energy – water.

Over the decades of its operations, the theme of sustainability has continued to be intertwined in Arnold’s business operations, including a reduction in CO emissions.2 emissions declared in the annual sustainability reports produced since 2014. Since 2016 Arnold has also publicly affirmed its sustainable corporate leadership with its claim “Blue Fastening System”. In 2022 this development will continue with the signing of the United Nations Global Compact Initiative.

Looking at emissions everywhere the entire supply chain

Arnold appreciates that sustainability and carbon neutrality are considered along the entire supply chain. An individual footprint account is drawn up for each product along the entire value chain. The emissions of each section of the supply chain are added together. This means that the companies downstream of the supply chain take on the total emissions from their suppliers and then transmit them, with their own CO2 added emissions, to its customers. This is an obligation for every company within the supply chain to take responsibility, not only for its own processes and the power it uses, but also for the previous and subsequent processes.

This is why Arnold set up the ACO2-Save the initiative. With this initiative, customers and users are actively supported to reduce CO emissions2 emissions due to the sustainable design and use of fasteners and cold stamped parts. A carbon calculation takes place already during the development process. Using your own CO2 calculator – developed internally: Arnold can determine the carbon footprint of the product for the part the customer requests information about, so he can work together to improve it. The goal here is that at the end of the development process, the product is technically of high quality and optimized with respect to costs and its CO2 footprint.

ACCO2-Save offers many options for CO2 savings

To curb the CO2 emissions already in the development phase, for example by avoiding unnecessary samples and prototypes, Arnold’s developers use digital forecasting tools such as FEM analysis and their own in-house developed forecasting program. This significantly reduces the number of possible variants, thus saving time, money and CO2.

However, the greatest savings are achieved by using innovative fastening and cold forming technologies. For example, working with his clients, Arnold explores options for changing part manufacturing technology, including whether parts that have hitherto been machined could be more efficiently cold produced. formed parts. You can also check if any existing threaded screws can be replaced with self-tapping screws, completely eliminating the need for cutting tools and the emissions they cause.

Another option is to reduce the size by using innovative fasteners, for example by replacing an M5 screw with an M4. Finally, innovative fastening systems help reduce weight, especially when it comes to combining multi-material blends, and this ultimately means a reduction in overall vehicle emissions.

To illustrate exactly how this ACO2-The Save initiative is working, let’s look at a specific example. The task was to have a special aluminum screw undergo an overhaul in terms of technology, cost and CO2 issue. Alternatively a Conform Next screw was developed. Thanks to its engineered design, it has proved suitable for use in components with larger diameters, longer components, more complex geometries and heavier weights, i.e. heavier components. The volume of the part used previously was 8,733 mm³, each item weighed 23.5 g and was processed in the traditional way. A turned blank was used on the production line and the volume was 25,830mm³, with a weight of 69.2g per item.

Arnold’s developers carried out an ACO2-Save the analysis and edit the part into a part formed in the Conform range. As a result of the improvement, the volume of the formed blank was 9,135 mm³ and each weighed 24.82 g. In other words, the forming process requires much less material input as there is very little waste during the manufacturing process.

In addition to a noticeable cost improvement created by the lower demand for materials for the cold forming process, this also has a noticeable effect on the carbon footprint of the product for this special screw. By reducing the working weight, creating less waste, and thus making the production process more efficient, it was possible to reduce all the CO2 emissions created by this vine by 45%.

This single example already demonstrates that there is considerable potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the product with Arnold’s ACO2-Save the initiative. Consequently, it also means that a pragmatic and individual analysis of other possible approaches to making changes, as far as fastening solutions are concerned, must be handled as much as possible in a responsible manner in business and social terms.

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